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Lakewood woman pleads guilty after deadly fire started in her apartment

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on May 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
May 28, 2010 1:56 pm

A 52-year-old Lakewood woman charged after she failed to report an apartment fire that killed her neighbor has pleaded guilty in the case.

Lisa Ann Horton pleaded guilty this morning to second-degree manslaughter and first-degree arson. The prosecutor and Horton’s attorney agreed to recommend a sentence of three years. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Vicki Hogan imposed the recommendation.

The Dec. 22 fire killed 63-year-old Aida Vilog, who had immigrated to the United States from the Philippines two weeks before her death to marry her long-time sweetheart. The two married Dec. 10.

Firefighters were called to the Village Apartments, 4210 110th St. S.W., about 7:30 a.m. Dec. 22 and found Horton standing nearby. Vilog died in her apartment.

She told investigators the fire started when she tried to light a cigarette using her stove-top burner and the stove exploded, court documents state. Horton walked out of her apartment when the fire started and left the door open.

Fire investigators reported the open door and the fact that 911 wasn’t called quickly contributed to the spread of the flames.

Horton’s attorney, Dino Sepe, said the caseĀ  raised interesting issues. The state does not have a good Samaritan law, requiring people to act when someone is in need.

“If the law requires you to act and you fail to act, it’s a crime,” Sepe said. “We don’t have that here.”

In addition, investigators found the stove to be defective.

Sepe and deputy prosecutor Steve Penner reached a deal.

“We worked out a good resolution,” Penner said.

Sepe added, “Someone died here and that’s what this case is about.”

Horton, who had no prior criminal history, apologized to the court during her hearing. She gets credit for the time she’s served in Pierce County Jail while awaiting trial. She could earn up to one-third off her three-year prison term with good behavior.

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